Purpose: Low-field MRI offers favorable physical properties for SNR-efficient long readout acquisitions such as spiral and EPI. We used a 0.55 tesla (T) MRI system equipped with high-performance hardware to increase the sampling duty cycle and extend the TR of balanced steady-state free precession (bSSFP) cardiac cine acquisitions, which typically are limited by banding artifacts. Methods: We developed a high-efficiency spiral in-out bSSFP acquisition, with zeroth- and first-gradient moment nulling, and an EPI bSSFP acquisition for cardiac cine imaging using a contemporary MRI system modified to operate at 0.55T. Spiral in-out and EPI bSSFP cine protocols, with TR = 8 ms, were designed to maintain both spatiotemporal resolution and breath-hold length. Simulations, phantom imaging, and healthy volunteer imaging studies (n = 12) were performed to assess SNR and image quality using these high sampling duty-cycle bSSFP sequences. Results: Spiral in-out bSSFP performed favorably at 0.55T and generated good image quality, whereas EPI bSSFP suffered motion and flow artifacts. There was no difference in ejection fraction comparing spiral in-out with standard Cartesian imaging. Moreover, human images demonstrated a 79% ± 21% increase in myocardial SNR using spiral in-out bSSFP and 50% ± 14% increase in SNR using EPI bSSFP as compared with the reference Cartesian acquisition. Spiral in-out acquisitions at 0.55T recovered 69% ± 14% of the myocardial SNR at 1.5T. Conclusion: Efficient bSSFP spiral in-out provided high-quality cardiac cine imaging and SNR recovery on a high-performance 0.55T MRI system.
- cardiac cine
- low field
- spiral in-out
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging